HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Expect a busy weekend on our waterways. The Memorial Day weekend traditionally launches the summer boating season. But with heavy rains recently, the rivers are rising. One Harrison County woman wants to warn boaters and swimmers about the dangers lurking in the water.
Jennifer Larson has lived on the Wolf River since 1982.
"Oh, it's great! I love it. I wouldn't live anywhere else," said Larson.
River life also means putting up with rising water.
"It may come out of the banks every now and then," she said.
The Wolf River is expected to crest at nine feet sometime Saturday. That's a foot above flood stage. Larson has already seen all sorts of debris being swept up in the swift moving water.
"Sticks, trees, bugs, debris, if something breaks off of someone's dock, it could be headed your way and you won't see it under the water and it'll come to you fast," said Larson. "If it hits your boat, it could put a hole in it. If it hits you, you could really be knocked out."
She wants to warn boaters to watch out for limbs, boat parts, even furniture, along with things they can't see under the surface.
"It's definitely dangerous to be in that water right now, and I wouldn't advise coming up by boat. I've seen trees come down the river, so it's not smart. I don't want anybody to die in front of my house," said Larson.
Larson advised swimmers to avoid the rivers this holiday weekend.
"It's not a place to swim. You have to have your life jacket on, because that water's going to take you. You're not swimming against that current," she said.
And when the water spills over the banks, Larson urged boaters and jet ski operators not to create wakes.
"I've yelled at them before too, 'Slow down!' But they can't hear you," she said.
Larson said wakes can cause damage to nearby properties.
"When a wake comes through, it'll push something over, like I have an old refrigerator," she said.
Larson said she wants people to enjoy the water just as she has for 33-years, but be safe and be courteous.
"I think the rivers are not a good place to be actually this Memorial Day coming up. You'd want to stay out, maybe go out to the islands where you're not going to have this current and all of this coming down," said Larson.
The Harrison County Sheriff's Department's Marine Patrol will have extra officers on duty this weekend. They'll be keeping their eyes on our waterways, especially around the river areas.